Unilever Food Solutions Romania: Romanians go to restaurant to socialize and to be served

Marketing, Studies

No need to cook, socializing and ordering food are the 3 main reasons mentioned by Romanians in Bucharest as reasons to order a meal in restaurants, according to the newest study of Unilever Food Solutions Romania on Romanians’ habits and experiences when they eat out.

Unilever Food Solutions study, realized on Romanian consumers, comes as a local answer to 2 studies that were realized globally by the company and that analyze consumers’ attitude towards ordering food in restaurants and towards leftovers from those meals.

By applying the study locally in Romania, Unilever Food Solutions Romania wanted to surprise the habits and experiences of Romanian consumers when they serve the food away from home, including how preoccupied they are about what their meals include, and their attitude towards restaurants that adopt sustainable practices to reduce the quantity of daily leftovers quantities.

According to the study, men in Bucharest say they eat out not because they lack time, but because they like what they eat (16%), because they don’t need to cook (16%), because they can socialize (15%) and because they can enjoy a big range of meals (9%). In what concerns women, they eat out because they don’t need to cook anymore (22%), because they can socialize (15%), because they like the food (13%) and the atmosphere (10%).

What Romanian consumers don’t like when they eat out are services quality, the fact that restaurants are overcrowded and too loud and the food is nor good or healthy (they don’t know the source of the ingredients), but also the fact they need to wait too long for the food they ordered.

According to the study, eating out is an emotional process for men, while women go eat out from functional reasons (they don’t want to spend time in the kitchen cooking).

The most important reason Bucharest consumers, men and women, eat out is that they can, this way, manage to meet up with friends and family and because they enjoy new culinary experiences each time

In what concerns the meals consumed when they are eating out, Romanians from Bucharest order

  • traditional food (51%) – because they enjoy the taste of traditional meals (38%) and they are already used to them (22%)
  • Italian dishes (20%) – because they like pasta (34%) and meals are easy to make so they don’t need to wait a lot of time to get their order (11%)
  • Chineze food (10%) – chosen for spices and diversity
  • Lebanese (6%) and Arabian (5%) food

In order to have an even better food experience when they eat out, people from Bucharest want better services and serving (21%), friendlier waiters (19%) and smaller prices (12%). Also, consumers consider it is important to find out information on the food they eat: 50% want to know what the food includes, because they are interested to have a healthier life  (30%) and they want to keep their weight under control (27%).

According to a global report from Unilever Food Solutions on reducing food waste, restaurants are throwing away 3M tons of food wastes, from which 1M tons are what clients leave in their plates.

Globally, the mentioned study shows that the greatest part of consumers in emerging markets (87%) care about the way food wastes are handled, while Occidentals care less (80%). Also, emerging markets consumers would pay more for a meal in a restaurant that handles the waste problem sustainable and responsible (70%), while only 46% of Occidentals would do the same.

Bucharest consumers are opened to pay more for food in restaurants, as they are interested in the sustainable measures taken by those in order to reduce wastes. They would pay more in restaurants that limit the quantity of wastes that would have a negative impact over environment  (59% of the men and 64% of the women), to eat in restaurants that use reciclable packaging and materials but also for places that follow the sustainability directives from Government or NGOs.

To encourage consumer’s preoccupation towards food wastes and to help reducing it,  Unilever Food Solutions Romania distributed in Bucharest’s Old Center, on September 29th, 5,000 doggy bags, during the event “A doggy bag is a goodie bag”. The message of this action was that everyone can contribute reducing the quantity of wastes generated by restaurants by simply asking to have packed the food they didn’t eat.

What we wanted to transmit with this action –  knowing we will communicate afterwards the results of the study on Bucharest consumers’ habits and experiences when they eat out and knowing how much preoccupation Romanian consumers showed towards the problem of food wastes threw by restaurants – was that through simply getting home what you have left in your plate, in a doggy bag, you help reducing the quantity of food wastes threw annually by restaurants. And this is only a first step, because this type of action will continue, as we saw how much consumers are resonating to this subject, online and offline, through the results of the study we made in Romania

Maria Gavrilescu

Channel Marketing Leader Unilever Food Solutions

Habits and Experiences related to eating out of home study was made in September by IMAS for Unilever Food Solutions. The study was made on a representative group of Bucharest inhabitants, aged 18-64 yeas old. The people that participated to the study eat out or order out at least once a week, they have a higher income and are well educated.